Specifications of MS Utopia Residences
|Year built||2021 new ship|
|Builder||SHI-Samsung Heavy Industries (Geoje Shipyard, South Korea)|
|Class||residential cruise ship (hotel ship)|
|Building cost||USD 1,1 billion (EUR 980 million)|
|Speed||22 kn / 41 kph / 25 mph|
|Length (LOA)||296 m / 971 ft|
|Beam (width)||36 m / 118 ft|
|Gross Tonnage||108 gt|
|Passengers||199 - 900|
|Decks with cabins||7|
MS Utopia Residences Review
Review of MS Utopia Residences
Design and planning on the residential cruise ship Utopia commenced in January 2010. The shipowner Utopia Residences placed the vessel on order in 2009 (on November 20) and amended the order (with some concept changes) in 2012. The deal was signed with the South Korean shipbuilding company Samsung Heavy Industries (Geoje Shipyard).
Similar "residence cruise ship" concepts are MS The World (2002-built, managed by ResidenSea), MV Narrative (2023-built, managed by Storylines Residences), MY Njord (2025-built, managed by Ocean Residences).
Initially planned for inauguration in 2017, the ocean liner Utopia was expected as one of world's most luxurious residential ships ever built. Unfortunately, the cruise shipbuilding project of Utopia Residences was suspended in 2014 due to financial difficulties (insufficient funding). The original letter of intent with Samsung Heavy Industries was amended in 2017. The vessel is currently on order, with planned launch and completion/inauguration in 2021.
Staterooms (cruise condos and hotel rooms)
Utopia cruise ship has max capacity 900 passengers plus 600 crew/staff. The 199 suites (cruise condos/apartments) are privately-owned residences ranging in size from 130 to 613 m2 (1400-6600 ft2). Additionally, the ship has a separate section (comprising two lower decks) designed as a 218-room hotel (owned by Utopia Residences) which accommodations/cabins can be rented like hotel rooms for limited periods.
Ship's 199 apartments/condos are sold as permanent private residences. Those who purchase a suite on the ship can't claim a share of ownership of the cruise vessel itself. All cabins as standard amenities offer en-suite bathrooms (with WC, bathtub, glass shower, single- or double-sink marble vanity, premium bath products), half bathrooms/powder rooms (toilet/sink only), walk-in closets, lifejackets and electronic safe box (in the wardrobe), decorative fireplaces, hardwood flooring, recessed LED lighting, wet bars, separate dining areas and kitchens (with marble counter-tops).
The smallest "cruise ship apartment" (130 m2, with 2 bedrooms plus 2 bathrooms) costs ~USD 4 million (initially advertized at US$3,7 million). The largest condos (613 m2 apartments with 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms) cost between USD 30-36 million (depending on deck location). In 2013, a Beverly Hills Rodeo Drive sales office (in Los Angeles, California) was opened to promote the Utopia Residences venture and accept deposits for the cruise condos. The annual maintenance fee for "ship residents" is ~4.5% of the property's listed price.
Ship's 199 private residences are located on all 7 cabin decks (8 through 15) out of total 16 decks. These residential decks were designed to offer best outside views, maximum comfort and convenience to their VIP passengers/owners. The liner has 6 private elevators that connect only the residential decks. Lower decks (housing hotel rooms, dining-entertainment-leisure venues, staff/crew cabins and facilities) are served by 12 other lifts. The vessel has 16 smaller-sized cabins housing tutors and nannies.
Utopia Residences ship deck plans were developed by leading interior designers, as well as marine architects and engineers. Suites' floor plans generally may vary in size and characteristics to suit the personal requirements of their owners. All residential deck cabins (condos) are with private, step-out balconies fitted with a low table and deckchairs.
- Utopian Estates Suites (forward-location on decks 14-15) are sized between 530-614 m2 (5700-6600 ft2) and consist of 3 or 4 bedrooms and 3 full baths plus 1 half bathroom.
- Royal Cup Estates Suites (midship-forward location on decks 10-11-12) are sized 394 m2 (4240 ft2) and with 3-4 bedrooms and 3,5 bathrooms.
- Regatta Estates Suites (aft-located on decks 8-9-10-11-12) have 3-4 bedrooms, 2,5 or 3,5 bathrooms and a large wraparound stern balcony.
- Symphony Estates Suites (forward location on decks 9-10-11) have 2-3 bedrooms and 2,5 or 3 bathrooms.
- Carnevale Estates Suites (midship on decks 8-9-10-11-12) have 2 bedrooms and 2,5 bathrooms.
- Olympian Estates Suites (forward and aft on decks 8-9-10-11-12) are with 1-2 bedrooms and 1,5-2,5 bathrooms.
All public venues on MS Utopia's upper/residential decks are with floor-ceiling and wall-to-wall windows to allow its VIP guests to enjoy the sea view and the scenic coastlines along the itinerary route.
The Club (located on decks 15 and 16) is a 2-deck high exclusive complex (for residents only) to meet other "cruise suite" owners. The Club is served by its own professional staff to take care of all VIP guests in a personalized manner.
The Club includes Bar Lounge, Dining Room Restaurant and sports facilities (premium indoor Gym and separate Studio for classes). Like all other facilities, Club's Restaurant is complimentary and serves gourmet dishes and beverages (including premium liquors and wines by the glass). Club's Lounge is furnished with comfortable leather furniture and features window seats. Club's Gym is with the latest Technogym equipment and also provides personal fitness instructors and group classes (aerobics, yoga, pilates, spinning, indoor cycling, zumba, dancing, regular exercises).
The Utopia ship has two MDRs (main dining rooms), two specialty restaurants, theater/show lounge, casino (with gaming tables and slot machines), huge wellness complex/spa and fitness (sized 1486 m2 / 16000 ft2), disco nightclub, several lounges and bars (indoor and outdoor/poolside), Sun Deck (with two swimming pools and two cantilevered jacuzzis/large whirlpool hot tubs with glass walls overlooking the sea), Helideck (bow-located helicopter landing platform used in cases of emergency), 8 tender boats/lifeboats, 2 rescue boats. All residents are allowed to take their personal belongings on board, as well as to reconfigure and redesign their "cruise apartments".
Like all residential ships, Utopia Residences itinerary program is based on global circumnavigation (around the world cruises) visiting various top-rated port cities and also world's most popular (and many exclusive) festivals and well-known annual events, including America's Cup (sailing yacht racing), Wimbledon Championships (tennis tournament), Rio Carnival (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Cannes Film Festival (Cannes, France), Tour de France (bicycle race), Monaco Grand Prix (Formula 1 car race), Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival (Hong Kong, China), Dubai World Cup (horse race in Dubai UAE), Ozumo Nagoya Basho (grand sumo tournament in Nagoya, Japan), Sydney's New Year's Eve (in Sydney NSW Australia).
Also like all other privately-owned cruise liners, Utopia's itinerary program can be altered (by voting from its VIP clients) to visit ports and destinations originally not included in ship's pre-scheduled program.
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Ordered in 2009 by US-based shipowner and cruise operator Utopia Residences, the Utopia cruise ship is being built by Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI), one of the world's largest shipbuilders. The company announced that nearly 400 engineers will be required to construct the new vessel.
For the Utopia Residences ship project were contracted Elomatic Marine (Estonian engineering and consulting company) and Tillberg Design US (subsidiary of "Tillberg Design of Sweden" that specializes in maritime design/interior).
MS The World is a similar residents-owned liner, but smaller-sized (GT 43200 tons) and without hotel rooms for renting out by the shipowner. Unlike Utopia, the 2002-inaugurated The World is fully-owned by its residents and managed by ResidenSea. The vessel has 165 condos and is served by 280 crew/staff. Like The World, MS Utopia will be Bahamas-flagged.
Ship design and construction
SHI is building the luxurious cruise liner with most of the financing coming from Frontier Group - a private equity investment firm based in St Louis, Missouri. Frontier will put up most of the needed funds to cover the USD 1,1 billion (EUR 980 M / GBP 880 M) in vessel construction costs. The US politician and diplomat Frank Charles Carlucci III (1930-2018, secretary of defense during the Reagan administration 1987-89) was Frontier Group's co-founder and Chairman Emeritus (retired Chairman).
The maiden voyage of Utopia (inaugural cruise) was planned for late-2016, but the project was temporarily suspended awaiting final financing and signed contracts. In 2018, Frontier Group announced that project's financing contingencies had been removed, clearing the path for the Utopia Residences project to continue forward.
The conceptual designing of the residential ship was done by Utopia Residences via partnership with Elomatic Consulting & Engineering. Vessel's main and coordinating architect is Tillberg Design. Ship's interior design was developed collectively by "Tillberg Design US" and Nancy Iraggi (US interior designer). For vessel's refrigeration, heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and fire-fighting systems was contracted "NOVENCO Marine and Offshore AS" (1947-founded, Denmark-based equipment developer and manufacturer). To provide newbuild's technical management was contracted WWH (Wilh. Wilhelmsen Holding ASA, 1861-founded shipping company, currently ranked Norway's largest).
Vessel's designed GT volume (gross tonnage) is 108,000 tons. The max draught/draft is 8,3 m (27 ft). Ship's hull prototype was constructed to test design's fluid dynamics and vibrations.
MS Utopia is powered by 6 main Wartsila marine diesel engines (total power output 50,4 MW). The propulsion system includes two aft-located ABB Azipods (360-degree azimuthing thrusters, hull-mounted below waterline) with combined output 14 MW, plus three bow-located (forward) ABB thrusters with total power output 9 MW. The Utopia cruise ship also has 2 sets of in-hull mounted fin stabilizers (also located below waterline).
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